Blackwell bows out
Jennifer Moody will be the new administrator for the City of Tullahoma, after Paul Blackwell, the city’s police chief who has been serving in the position in an interim basis since May, withdrew his name from contention this week.
At its meeting Monday night, the Tullahoma Board of Mayor and Aldermen unanimously accepted Moody’s appointment after a motion made by Alderman Ray Knowis.
In a letter sent to Mayor Lane Curlee, which the mayor read aloud before the vote, Blackwell thanked the mayor for his “support and confidence” in Blackwell’s appointment as the interim city administrator, but formally requested that his name be “removed from consideration for the city administrator position.”
“I would like to thank the board for the opportunity to have served in the interim role and gain valuable experience and knowledge that will assist me in serving as this city’s chief of police. I look forward to assisting the city administrator in whatever manner possible,” Blackwell’s letter read.
Because only one candidate for the position remained, there was no need for nominations to the post, Curlee said. Instead, he entertained a motion to formally accept Moody’s appointment, which was given through a unanimous vote-by-acclimation.
According to Curlee, Blackwell’s decision to remove his name from consideration came just hours before the vote was to be held.
“We had a discussion late this afternoon, and he decided that was probably the best thing to do,” Curlee said after the meeting concluded.
Moody comes to the position with nearly 10 years of local government experience, three of which have come from her current position as assistant city manager of Murfreesboro.
Moody holds a bachelor’s degree in international affairs from Xavier University in Cincinnati as well as a master of public affairs degree from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana.
Her master’s degree comes with a concentration in public finance, economic development and policy analysis, according to her resume.
Prior to working for the City of Murfreesboro, Moody was employed by the City of Columbia as assistant city manager.
In both cities, Moody has been instrumental in developing or implementing capital improvement plans, website redesigns and land-use plans.
Moody said she was “honored” and “very excited” to begin working for the City of Tullahoma.
“I look forward to coming to Tullahoma and meeting as many people as I can and learning as much as I can,” she said.
Moody said Blackwell’s decision to withdraw from consideration was “a complete surprise,” though she said she had great respect for Blackwell and the reputation he’s built in the community.
“I know he’s served the city well for a long time,” she said.
The details of Moody’s appointment, including her start date and salary, will need to be ironed out in the coming days, according to Curlee. In the meantime, Blackwell will continue to serve as interim city administrator.
“We’ll sit down in the next week or so and work all that out,” Curlee said.
Once she begins in Tullahoma, Moody will serve a three-month probationary period, per city code.
Curlee said he was ready to begin working with Moody whenever the details were ironed out.
“She’s a very impressive young lady,” Curlee said. “I think she’ll set a good example of getting more young females involved in community leadership.”
About the position
According to the city’s website, the city administrator is responsible for making sure the city government is run “efficiently and economically” as the chief administrator of the city.
The city administrator also serves as one of only two full-time employees of the board of mayor and aldermen, with the other being the city attorney.
In her duties as city administrator, Moody will be responsible for advising the board, appointing department heads and preparing an annual budget with the assistance of the city finance office.
The city administrator also “enforces municipal laws and ordinances, coordinates city operations and oversees departmental programs,” according to the website.
Other responsibilities of the city administrator’s office include providing support services to the city boards and committees and coordinating policy development, analysis and implementation.
Erin McCullough may be reached at email@example.com.